The second-annual Savvy Shopkeeper Retreat was such an incredible experience for everyone involved. Read on to learn more about the people who supported the retreat, what happened each day, and how attendees felt after two days of connection and learning.
People Who Made The Retreat Amazing
I’m so grateful for all of the people who supported me and my vision for the second Savvy Shopkeeper Retreat!
First up, April and Mike Petersen. They’re the owners of Frügthaven Farm, where the retreat was hosted. We took over the entire gorgeous property, including their big barn, grain bins, hygge house, and event tent! I want people to feel relaxed and inspired by their surroundings at the retreat, and Frügthaven Farm is the perfect setting for that.
The Event Planner
Kristyn is the incredible event planner at the farm. She listened so well, took all the details and ideas from my brain, and made them happen. She was also calm and collected even when I was stressed, which I am so grateful for!
My Biz Bestie
Next, I have to mention Maureen, who owns The CoLab in Lakewood, Ohio. Maureen and I have been biz besties for years. She’s also a member of Master Shopkeepers and my right-hand woman at the retreat. Whenever I’m focused on getting ready, coordinating with the crew, or shaking off my nerves, Maureen is there to help attendees and make everyone feel welcome. I don’t know what I’ll do if she doesn’t come to future retreats, too!
Last but definitely not least are my husband, Andy, and my bonus son, Logan. They traveled to Michigan to support me during the retreat. During the retreat kickoff, Logan helped check people in and give people their swag bags, along with helping Maureen. It meant the world to me to have them there!
After the first retreat, Kristyn and I talked about wanting a homier, comfier feel for the open-air tent. That’s why this year, we worked with a Greenville-area florist and decorator, Truer Design. They did a fantastic job adding sweet, delicate details to the event spaces.
I also want to mention the sponsor for our retreat, Wholesale Co-op. It was founded by the same people who founded Tundra, which you’re probably familiar with if you’re doing any online wholesale buying for your retail store. With Wholesale Co-op, you set up a paid account, search for the wholesale products you need, and see all options across EVERY wholesale platform. You’ll also get cashback on your order! It’s a very cool concept and is helpful for anyone buying wholesale for retail stores.
Door Prizes and Swag Bags
The swag bag items and door prizes were donated by group members, which was so special! The swag bags were actually generously-sized lunch totes—Logan now uses one for his school lunch, which makes me chuckle.
One fun moment from the retreat was when Katsie, owner of Rough Around the Etches, won the door prize from Instant Boss. Instant Boss gave away a one-year membership to their social media club, which is mainly aimed at apparel store owners.
Katsie took the time to regift the door prize to April, the owner of Frügthaven Farm, because April has an apparel store called Pink + Frillos on the farm! We all went shopping at Pink + Frillos during our downtime at the retreat. It was so sweet of Katsie to gift her door prize to April.
Swag Bag contributions came from: MelMarie Skincare, La Petite Maison Antiques, Rough Around the Etches, Sarah’s Smoked Specialties from High Cotton Decor, Bee Joyful Shop, Embroidery From The Heart, and Laura Newton Hair.
Day One: Building Unshakeable Foundations
To kick off our Opening Remarks, I played a clip from the book The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It. I wanted to convey how much we would focus on the theme of this year’s retreat: Foundations. It’s essential to focus on our foundations, even if we’ve been in business for five years and have to go back and start some things from scratch.
Next, we had the Master Your Mindset presentation and lunch.
After lunch, we held breakout sessions. We had two incredible guest instructors: Jessica Thompson, owner of Bee Joyful Shop, and Stacy Schnieber, a human resources expert. They each taught two breakout sessions where they focused on key topics related to the foundations of our businesses.
Jessica shared about social media foundations and video content creation, while Stacy spoke about company culture and empowering employees with effective leadership.
Our last session of the day was called The Shopkeeper’s Scorecard: Measure Your Performance and Improve Your Strategy. I’ll share more about this topic in the future, but one special part of this presentation was an included spreadsheet. I didn’t think much of it, but so many retreat attendees were excited to use it!
VIP Happy Hour, Dinner, and Interview
After some downtime, we held the optional VIP happy hour and dinner. We had dinner on the patio and served cocktails from an adorable vintage camper!
During the VIP dinner, I interviewed Jennifer Luna. She owns The Kindship Companies, the parent company for five retail stores in the Pacific Northwest. Jennifer is a Master Shopkeepers member in the Retail CEO stage and had so many valuable experiences to share with our attendees.
She’s also kind, humble, and generously shared her knowledge during our interview. I’m so grateful that Jennifer was willing to be vulnerable and share her insights in front of the 50 VIP attendees.
The VIP experience at the retreat truly is special and exclusive. We don’t record anything during the VIP interview, so it’s a special moment for everyone who attends this portion of the retreat.
Day Two: Connecting With Other Shopkeepers
We opened day two with my presentation, Retail Planning: Create An Action Plan For Growth. This was an extra exciting session because I launched the Savvy Shopkeeper Digital Planner!
Breakout Sessions by Shopkeeper Stages
Next, we broke into groups based on the five shopkeeper stages: Aspiring Shopkeeper, Savvy Starter, Profitable Planner, Growing Retailer, and Retail CEO. I could tell that everyone wanted MORE time with their peers, so I’ll be sure we build this into future retreats!
Cidery Sip & Shop
After our breakout sessions, we went over to the Cidery on the farm to enjoy some delicious hard cider, socialize, and shop. There was some Savvy Shopkeeper merch for sale and a delicious spread of tasty treats. The cidery, boutique, cafe, coffee shop, and barber are all connected in the beautiful Frügthaven farm building, so we all spread out and mingled in these spaces.
The video team also set up a space for attendees to share their experience with Savvy Shopkeeper! I can’t wait to see these video testimonials—thank you if you gave one.
Books Mentioned at The Retreat
With so many business owners in the same space, there was a lot of discussion around business resources, including book recommendations. I haven’t read all of these, but I have added them to my to-be-read list.
- The Ideal Team Player: How to Recognize and Cultivate The Three Essential Values
- The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It
- Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones
- Radical Candor: Be a Kickass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity
Vendors Who Made The Retreat Magical
Several incredible vendors supported the retreat with their services and made the event magical.
Our photographer for the retreat was Sarah Beirne. She’s from Northeast Ohio and shoots all of my brand photography, which is why the images I share are so good! I was so grateful that Sarah was willing to travel to Michigan and capture such gorgeous images at the retreat.
Our videographer was Unnamed Films.
Florist & Decor
As mentioned above, Truer Design created beautiful floral arrangements and decorations for the weekend.
Corporate Live coordinated all of the technical details for the retreat. There are so many moving parts that no one considers creating this kind of event! Their team was fun, funny, and accommodating. They made me feel that I had the support I needed, so I didn’t have to worry about the technical portion of the retreat.
We had a Zen Zone in case people wanted to disconnect for a bit, and Aptitude Fitness & Yoga covered this for us.
I loved the service and the vibe of the adorable vintage camper from Black Barrel Bar.
How The Retreat Was Transformational for Shopkeepers
Seeing how the retreat helps the small store owners in attendance is incredible! We recently closed our pop-up Facebook group for retreat attendees, but I asked them about their experience before we did. Here’s what they had to say:
Deciding to Go All-In
“What a few days I’ve had since the retreat – integrating so many thoughts and feelings! I want to thank everyone who was there for every little thing I heard. I had so much to think about. Mostly – why am I not allowing myself to give more attention to my passion – the store?
I was so envious of everyone at the retreat who were really all in on their retail business. I want to be that person!!
I’ve drafted a plan to semi-retire by the end of the year. I set a meeting with my business partner to outline how this needs to work, and I plan for us to share it with the leadership team at our quarterly planning session in October.
It felt so liberating to even start considering that as a possibility for myself – which is so funny considering I always think I’m an “anything is possible” kind of person. I missed some pretty obvious limiting beliefs thinking things had to be the way they are!!”
An Amazing Community
“Now that I’m home and have a moment to myself, I want to really say thank you to everyone who was at the retreat for making us feel really welcome. Thank you to your husbands who shared some of their experiences of having been yanked along on this ridiculous ride.
Kathy, thank you for building an amazing community (even though you think that’s not a skill!) because it absolutely is—and it’s not nearly as easy as you make it look to build such a positive, uplifting environment. Thank you everyone who shared the messy realities of their cash flow.
The tears were emotional outpouring while I was writing this message.”
Magical, Radical Kindness
Here’s what I had to say about the retreat in our pop-up group:
“Thank you all for being so kind, open, transparent, vulnerable, fun, supportive and encouraging with EACH OTHER… and ME! ❤️
That’s one of the special things about the retreat. Once we get there, it’s like those walls and the defense mechanisms and all of that stuff that we kind of put up as armor—it goes away. That is what makes this event so magical.
There were so many acts of kindness, like from carpooling, gifting things to each other gifting things to me, donating VIP dinner ticket because someone couldn’t attend and someone else didn’t buy one. Even something like that was really special to see.
Maureen lost her Apple Pencil cap, and someone else had a backup or like an extra and they gave it to her. Jessica was teaching breakout attendees how to remove the TikTok logo from videos. People were gifting door prizes because they couldn’t travel home with them. It was incredible.”
Leveling-Up the Retreat Experience
“I’ve been meaning to post this somewhere and I am picking here.
As someone who attended both retreats I just wanted to mention how very impressed I was with how the content and overall vibe of the retreat leveled up. The increase in content was something I had in as a want after the first one and you delivered that in spades.
At dinner and again at the mingle I stood to the side for a minute just observing and seeing so many connections being made. It was so great.
Anyways, really amazing work, and it appeared effortless. Which is a lot for an event that I know is so far from effortless.
I am humbled to be part of a group with so many badass women doing their own amazing things. Thank you for creating the space for us to come together.
See you again, whatever year you decide.”
The Future of The Savvy Shopkeeper Retreat
I can’t possibly capture the essence of the retreat in a single blog post or podcast episode.
But the post-retreat survey results made one thing very clear: retreat attendees want the retreat to come back in 2023 AND want even more time together! Some of you asked for a third day or the option to pay for an additional day.
I had previously announced that there wouldn’t be a 2023 retreat so that I could focus on other projects. I haven’t made any decisions yet, but I know the retreat gets shopkeepers fantastic results. I’ll announce the decision in my newsletter, in Master Shopkeepers, and on the podcast once it’s made.
- Venue: Frügthaven Farm
- Sponsor: Wholesale Co-op
- Floral & Decor: Truer Design
- Photography: Sarah Beirne
- Videography: Unnamed Films
- Audio Visual: Corporate Live
- Yoga: Aptitude Fitness & Yoga
- Catering: KJ Catering
- Bar Services: Black Barrel Bar
- Entertainment: Grace Thiesen
- Door Prizes:
- Swag Bags:
- [01:53] People Who Made The Retreat Amazing
- [13:30] Day One: Building Unshakeable Foundations
- [18:35] Day Two: Connecting With Other Shopkeepers
- [21:33] Books Mentioned at The Retreat
- [22:19] Vendors Who Made The Retreat Magical
- [25:20] How The Retreat Was Transformational for Shopkeepers
- [30:39] The Future of The Savvy Shopkeeper Retreat